Elementary Teachers’ Cognitive Processes and Metacognitive Strategies during Self-Directed Online Learning

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Beach, Pamela
Henderson, Gail
McConnel, Jen
Self-directed learning , Teacher professional learning , Cognitive processes , Metacognitive strategies , Elementary teachers
This study involves an in-depth examination of Canadian elementary teachers’ cognitive processes and metacognitive strategies they used during a self-directed online learning experience. The virtual revisit think aloud, a methodology that combines a retrospective procedure with screen recording technology, was used to capture verbalisations from 13 elementary teachers as they used an online database. Resulting think aloud protocols and post-task interviews were analysed using qualitative methods. An inductive approach to analysis led to six themes related to the types of cognitive processes and metacognitive strategies teachers use during self-directed online learning: connecting to practice, tweaking and adapting, narrowing the focus, skimming through, reading for depth, and source credibility. The teachers in this study demonstrated a non-linear iterative process in which they continuously planned, monitored, and evaluated their learning during the self-directed online learning experience. Implications for teacher learning and research are discussed.